The use of professional services can contribute significantly to the success of your small business. Professionals can provide knowledge and expertise in certain areas and also round out your management team to ensure your business is operating efficiently and legally. As an entrepreneur, there are five main areas of professional services that you may wish to consult:
- Insurance broker
- Business consultant
When seeking professional help, find someone with whom you feel you can establish a good working relationship and fits your expectations. To make an informed decision, meet with two or three companies before you commit.
For the first meeting, be prepared to explain your background, nature of business, areas of expertise or lack thereof. Ask what services the firm
provides and how it can assist you, as well as a quote for fees. Fees vary depending on the kind of work, the complexity of the work, and the
Generally, professional service providers will quote you a fee before providing you with the service. Sometimes it is appropriate to ask three or four different companies to provide you with a quote before you commit to a long-term, critical and expensive decision.
The rest of this guide describes the types of services above, along with guidelines on how to select each type of provider.
Selecting an Accountant
Accountants are highly trained professionals who practice the measurement, accuracy and disclosure of financial information that is used to make
decisions about where to allocate resources. Accountants can:
- Help you put the financial aspects of your business plan together
- Provide financial advice, especially when a surplus or deficit is coming up
- Do your bookkeeping and/or provide bookkeeping training
- Prepare your financial statements and explain them
- Prepare corporate and income tax returns and other information required by government
In the past, accountants chose between three certifications and specialized in different areas. Now, in Canada, certified accountants all fall under the
Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) banner. Accountants that receive this certification have higher salaries, more abilities and knowledge, and
adhere to global accounting standards.
If you need someone to simply keep your financial books updated, you may want to consider hiring a bookkeeper. This may be a less expensive
For more information on selecting an accountant visit:
Selecting a Lawyer
Lawyers are highly trained professionals who deal with a full range of personal and business legal matters. Lawyers tend to specialize in one or two of many areas of practice.
If your legal concerns are restricted to one specific area, it may be best for you to deal with a lawyer who specializes in that area. Many business
transactions have legal implications, so find a lawyer you are able to treat as a trusted business advisor. Lawyers can:
- Help choose a legal business structure that is right for you
- Help draw up documents (articles of incorporation, contracts, agreements)
- Help with understanding and complying with legal requirements
- Aid in conforming with government regulation and record keeping
- Help in developing contracts with landlords, suppliers, customers, etc.
- Help in understanding and arranging leases
If you need assistance when searching for a lawyer, you can use the Lawyer Referral Service offered by the Law Society of Saskatchewan. Call toll free: 306-569-8242, or visit the Law Society of Saskatchewan
Selecting a Banker
Your commercial banking account is a matter that requires careful selection with long-term commitment in mind. Changing banks is more difficult and expensive with a business account than with a personal account because commercial services are more customized and time consuming to negotiate.
Many of the reasons why individuals select a bank for personal needs are just as valid for business needs. You must consider price, quality, attitude,
reputation, service, convenience, safety, and reliability. Here are a few critical factors that a business owner should bear in mind when selecting a banker:
- Attitude toward your business nature and needs
- Scope of credit products and services
- Size and management policies of the bank
- Cash management service
- Services to consider: automated payrolls, transfer of funds, lockboxes, 24-hour depository services
A preliminary meeting with potential lenders is a good idea. You can then outline your general plans and learn the expectations and services of the lending institution. To establish a good rapport with the lender, it is important to create confidence in your ability. Plan your project in advance and give the lender time to consider your business plan.
Banks generally will not lend you 100% of your start up financing. The bank will request that you invest some of your own money as a representation of your commitment.
For additional information on selecting a banker, visit the Canadian Bankers Association’s website. Or view their list of members to help you in your selection process.
Selecting an Insurance Broker
Insurance is an essential part of financial planning. Your business has many assets: vehicles, office space, equipment, inventory and indispensable
employees or partners.
Life, disability, partnership, liability, fire, product, vehicle, cyber, earnings and bonds are types of business insurance that may be appropriate for your
activities. Start with an insurance brokerage with which you are familiar, perhaps your home or vehicle insurance carrier, and ask for a quote. Typically, the broker will need comprehensive information about you and your business such as:
- Owners’ skills and experience
- Building specifications, including home-based businesses
- Total cost of inventory and supplies
- Vehicle usage
- Potential liabilities in your sector, such as food poisoning at a restaurant
- Number of employees and estimated annual sales revenue
After your broker gathers the information, he or she may take one or two days to provide you with a quote. If you so choose, request quotes from
different brokerages to compare cost and coverage.
For additional information on selecting an insurance agent visit the following websites:
Selecting a Business Consultant
As a business owner, no one will know as much about your business as you, but sometimes seeking outside counsel provides insights, opportunities and threats that might otherwise be overseen.
Business consultants identify threats and opportunities, as well as provide alternatives and suggestions in various areas of business. Consultants can
provide solid business solutions and plans for the future. Over time, an excellent consultant will minimize expenses and maximize profits.
The right consultant for you should be a careful, deliberate decision. Keep the following traits in mind when committing to a consultant:
- Professional, open and honest
- Experience in your sector and/or with your needs
- Strong communication with you
- Backed by previous client testimonials
- Personality and compatibility
To ensure the credibility of a business consultant visit Accredited Business Consultants in Saskatchewan through the Better Business Bureau (BBB)